Saturday 1 December is World AIDS Day and the NHS Tayside Sexual Health and Blood Borne Virus Managed Care Network (MCN) is painting the town red to mark the occasion.
Businesses, charities and statutory bodies across Tayside will join together to raise awareness and show their support for people living with HIV by lighting their buildings red to symbolise the Red Ribbon, the universal mark of awareness and support for people living with HIV and remembrance of those who have died of AIDS.
HIV care co-ordinator Laura Shepherd said, “We wish to shine a light on World AIDS Day and we hope that, with the help of our partners sharing positive messages around HIV treatment, we can begin to challenge and remove some of the stigma around HIV.”
Dundee Train Station, Slessor Gardens, Caird Hall, Dundee House, The Steeple, Discovery, University of Dundee, Abertay University, DC Thomson Meadowside, Overgate, and Dundee Rep will all light their building exteriors red to mark World AIDS Day.
MCN manager Donna Thain said, “Lots of myths and out-of-date information exist around HIV which cause unnecessary fear and stigma. Our network wants to make sure that people living in Tayside know the facts.
“People living with HIV on treatment and who have undetectable viral loads cannot pass on the virus. We’re asking people to visit our website http://www.sexualhealthtayside.org or pop along to one of our information stalls to find out more and to wear a red ribbon.”
The MCN team will be holding events to mark World AIDS Day and provide information on the following dates:
- Ninewells Concourse, Friday, 30 November, 10am to 4pm
- Park Run, Camperdown Park, Saturday, 1 December, from 9am
- Overgate Shopping Centre, by Costa, Saturday 1 December from 11am to 4.30pm
There have been major advances in HIV treatment in the last 30 years. While there is still no cure for HIV, the treatments available today are so effective that someone with an undetectable HIV viral load on treatment cannot transmit HIV. The levels of HIV in the body are so low that they can’t be passed on sexually. This is known as Undetectable equals Untransmittable, or U=U. This is a major breakthrough to end new HIV transmissions.
Genito-urinary medicine consultant Dr Ciara Cunningham said, “This should send a strong message to our community that people on effective HIV treatment can live healthily with this virus and do not transmit it to others. We hope that this encourages more people to test and to recognise the benefits of early diagnosis and treatment.”
HIV testing is available all year round. Speak to your doctor or make an appointment at a sexual health clinic if you would like to discuss testing. You can also visit www.sexualhealthtayside.org or www.menonlytayside.com for more information.